Years ago, I asked my great uncle why he and the rest of the family were Republicans. "When I was old enough to vote," he said, "I asked my father [a doctor from New Jersey] what the difference was between the parties. He said, 'The Republicans are for the gold standard and the protection of American industry.' And that was good enough for me."
A new Pew study says that, in the past quarter century, the biggest predictor of differences in value questions has been partisan identification -- and the gaps are growing wider.
And Stuart Rothenberg, in RollCall, notes that today's conservatives are quite different from those of the 1980s. A key difference, he notes, is the refusal to compromise, to get half a loaf now and work to get the rest later.
Both of these items augur bitter fights ahead, with even less chance of agreements.